2017 is shaping up to be a big year for Irish alcohol. On the last day of January, Guinness-owners Diageo announced plans to launch their own brand of premium blended whiskey, Roe & Co, which will help meet increased demand for Irish whiskey across the world.
Named after one of 19th-century Ireland’s most successful distillers, George Roe, their new product is to be produced at a €25 million new whiskey distillery at St. James’s Gate in Dublin, where Guinness is made. Roe & Co will consist of Irish grain and malt whiskies aged in bourbon casks, and if plans for the new distillery are approved, it’s due to be released across Europe in early March.
Just a few days after this announcement, County Louth’s Listoke Distillery has created another flurry in the world of Irish spirits, by opening the country’s first ever gin school. Set on the idyllic grounds of Listoke House and Gardens, the pioneering three-hour class will provide a behind-the-scenes look at the distillery at Listoke, including a tour of the 200-year-old stable where small-batch Listoke 1777 gin is made, somewhat incongruously with ultra-modern equipment.
After a tour, class participants will return to the beautiful setting of a whitewashed, wood-beamed, copper-piped outbuilding, to be enlightened on some of the main gin flavour profiles and taught the basics of botanicals. Each gin school-goer will accumulate at least enough knowledge to go on to distill their own bespoke gin blend, which they’ll take home in a mini copper pot at the end of the day. Refreshments – of course, including revitalising G&T’s – will be served throughout the class.
Classes are booking up quickly – act fast if you’d like to take part. Each class costs €95 per person, or €90 per person if booking for a group. Gift vouchers are also available to purchase as presents for any gin-loving friends and family members.